Pastor James McConnell goes on trial over 'satanic Islam' sermon


An evangelical preacher accused of branding Islam "satanic" and "heathen" in an online sermon is going on trial in Belfast.

Pastor James McConnell faces two charges connected to a controversial speech he made from the pulpit of his church in the north of the city last year.

McConnell, 78, from Shore Road, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, is being prosecuted under the 2003 Communications Act.

He faces two charges - improper use of a public electronic communications network and causing a grossly offensive message to be sent by means of a public electronic communications network - after remarks made at Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle in north Belfast were streamed online.

The evangelical fundamentalist denies the charges.

Hundreds of Christian supporters have accompanied the veteran churchman to court for pre-trial hearings.

Three days have been set aside for the trial at Belfast Magistrates' Court.